Training of Postdoctoral Scholars


A compendium of information will be made available to each postdoctoral scholar upon arrival at the University through the Office of Research and Innovation website. This compendium will include a copy of these policies and procedures, conflicts of interest and financial disclosure policies, intellectual property policies, VCU Policy on Research Misconduct, Sexual Misconduct/Violence and Sex/Gender Discrimination policy, parking policies, a clear statement about benefits, the current Commonwealth, and Federal taxation policies, sources of information within the University, and explanation of the ombudsperson services. Mentors are responsible for assuring that postdoctoral scholars are provided with any unitā€level orientation materials. Preferably, periodic orientation sessions should be provided for all new postdoctoral scholars at the department level.

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Training Program Elements

Postdoctoral scholars are considered to be professionals in training. One goal of their professional experience at VCU is to be provided training relevant to the responsible conduct of research. Such training should include the following elements, as appropriate to the individual trainee: (1) data management, ownership of intellectual property and tangible research materials; (ii) mentor/trainee responsibilities; (iii) publication practices and responsible authorship; (iv) peer review; (v) rights of collaborators; (vi) human subject research; (vii) research involving animals; (viii) research misconduct; (ix) conflict of interest; and (x) compliance with existing Federal and University policies. As noted previously, within 1 year of their appointment, all postdoctoral scholars must provide to the Office of Postdoctoral Services verification of having completed an approved educational program in responsible conduct of research. When postdoctoral scholars engage in teaching, appropriate training and didactic experience should also be provided.

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Policy Exceptions

Unless otherwise stipulated, requests for exceptions to any of these policies must be submitted by the faculty mentor, and reviewed and approved by the department chair and/or the dean of the school/college. Documentation of exceptions should be submitted to the Office of Postdoctoral Services.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports and environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

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